No justification for exclusion, I’m a proud feminist: UN Secretary-General Guterres on Women’s Day

New York: In aspiration for equality and celebration of women’s rights, the International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres remarked on the significance of the day and the theme for this year, ‘I Am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights’, in New York.

Wishing everyone on the occasion, Secretary-General Guterres pointed out several instances where women have been sidelined on various important issues. Condemning the acts and calling for better representation and inclusion, he said, “There is no justification for women’s continued exclusion.”

The UN Secretary General praised women across the globe who raised their voices against violence and injustice, especially the younger generation, for redefining what power looks like and for urging them to “hold the world to account.” He also emphasized the fact that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and issues like climate change cannot be tackled without the help of women.

Guterres cited the example of Eunice Foote, who in 1856 had conducted experiments to prove that changes in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could bring changes in global temperature. The American scientist’s paper was however presented by a man, and 3 years later, a man’s papers on greenhouse gases was considered to be the foundation of climate science. “It started with a woman, but it was covered,” Guterres commented.

He also commended the works of Katherine Johnson and Tu Youyou for their contributions to the Apollo landings and the use of traditional Chinese medicine for curing malaria.

Reminiscing of the past, he mentioned how women in many places were dependents of their husbands, and how change has taken place over time. Calling himself a proud feminist, the UN Secretary General mentioned how almost 90 percent of people, including women, interviewed across 75 countries, have at least one clear bias against gender equality in areas such as politics, economics, education, intimate partner violence, and women’s reproductive rights, and emphasized the fact that citizens must fight against the stigma.

He condemned the pushback on global developments on women’s rights and said, “We must push back against the pushback.” Guterres concluded his remarks by promising that he would ensure that women are represented equally in all decision making at the United Nations, including peace decisions, in the next 2 years.

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